Dear Friends and Family,
This letter has been a long time coming. I wasn’t sure until now how to put this into the right words; words that wouldn’t hurt, insult, or embarrass, but rather draw an understanding.
I have long marveled at the name of my profession. Doula is a greek word, whose literal translation is “slave woman.” The past two years have brought me clarity on my exact role as a Doula and have helped me find my authentic way of serving this miraculous profession, and the awe-inspiring mothers.
Friends, family, please use me!
Don’t be afraid to tell me your pregnant. I have an overflowing wealth of information when it comes to pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I have spent the last two and a half years of my life completely immersed in birth, post-birth, and childbirth education. While I definitely don’t know everything, I want to be of use to you. Aside for an immense love of creation, the reason I learn is to pass on. To prevent trauma, to help create positive experience. I am constantly learning, updating, and processing, and I have so much to give you, but only if you want it.
Don’t be afraid that I will try to convince you to hire me. I promise I won’t chase you down and harass you, trying to convince you to hire me, or any doula for that matter. Being that I am no longer brand new in this field, I strongly believe in finding a doula that you feel is a good match. I often refer friends, family and strangers on to other doulas who I think they will feel more comfortable with, or who better meet their needs. If you don’t feel comfortable with me being your doula, chances are I don’t feel comfortable being it either! But I want to help you find the right person, or help you succeed on your own, without a doula, if those are your wishes. I believe every woman should know that she has the strength to do this, and that means she also has the strength to do this alone (or just with her partner,) if she so chooses.
Don’t be afraid I’ll only talk to you about birth anymore. If you tell me you’re pregnant, I won’t make you sit and listen to everything birth related for hours on end, or give you my opinions without being asked. For those of you who have been stuck at weekend meals with me (I’m sorry!) I try very hard to contain myself, unless someone asks. So much about birth is misrepresented; I know birth is not the topic everyone enjoys most, and I respect that; but when women are curious, I want them to know the truth. I want them to know both sides of the story, risks and benefits, accurate, evidence-based information. Sometimes that causes me to elaborate, leading into longer conversations, but I never, ever mean to be overbearing, or force my opinions onto others. I encourage you to tell me if I'm telling you too much, or you don't want to hear more, it won't insult me.
Please don’t “let me down easy.” Please don’t tell me you’re thinking about hiring me, until the last minute, and then say “Oh, i don’t know,” because you’re scared to hurt me. Don't hire me! But let me help you in whatever way I can, not in the birth room. Call me when you’re not sure who to call. Be in touch, when you’re doctor is out of touch. Reach out when you just need that reassurance. I can always direct you further if that’s what’s necessary.
But most of all, please G-d, don't shut me out. Please don’t be the friend who stops talking to me when you find out you’re pregnant because you don’t want to insult me, by hiring another doula. Early pregnancy especially, when you don’t know what’s flying is one of the key developmental stages for your baby, and can be one of the hardest times on you! You might be feeling sick, or confused, and while you may have your partner, if neither of you has ever gone through this before- you usually have questions! Don't hesitate, use me! I won’t tell anyone you’re expecting, and I won’t expect anything from you in return. I know that good doctors are few and far between, and doctors appointments happen rarely more than once in the first 12 weeks. So ask me your questions, cry to me, and let me hold your hair back while you enjoy getting to know the inside of the toilet/garbage bin, face to face, for those first few weeks.
Being a doula is my profession. You don’t need to hide your pregnancy from me, or say sorry. I’m here to be used when asked, and I’m not here to push any agendas on you, aside from encouraging you to believe in yourself. If we’re close, and you would have told me, I’d rather find out about your pregnancy from you, instead of through Facebook. I will try to hold myself back from recommending things, but I hope you’ll understand it’s not my “gimmick” or trying to advertise to you. It’s my general excitement for someone who I love. It’s the same way most women would react if you told them such fantastic news.
In the end of the day, for those of you who choose to hire me, even though we are friends, or family- these are the births, that for me, are like no other. These births involve different levels of love, and personal connection, during these labors I experience very selfish excitement, and these labors are the ones that are with me every moment of every day. I’m not roaming the streets remembering what it looked like when the baby came out of you. Instead, as if I was just there, I feel, very deeply, the excitement of the room; I remember, very clearly, the sound of your first sob in harmony with that of your baby’s, as she was lifted into your arms; and I strongly recall the look that your partner had on, when he saw you through those wondrous eyes, for the very first time, that look of adoration painted across his face. I still remember the feeling of warmth, the immense love surrounding us, after so many hours of hard, hard work, coupled with anticipation. I remember that time I saw you turn into a queen, conquering your pain, and taking control of your life, and the things you chose to happen, like you never had before. I remember watching you just get through it, when that was all you could do, and knowing that was the strongest thing anyone had ever done. I feel the moment of relief in the room, when it’s all over, quickly overthrown by the realization of pure joy at a new life joining us. I remember my tears, the ones I let myself cry when I made my way, exhausted, home. I remember that I will never see you the same again. To me, you will always be a woman filled with continuous strength, unfathomable courage, and the purest love. To me, you will always be a Hero.
Friends.. Family… use me. In whatever way you need me. That’s why I’m here.